93.88 million (2011)
Zhongyuan Mandarin, Jin
| Henan University|
Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Xinxiang, Nanyang, Kaifeng
Shaolin Monastery, Longmen Grottoes, Mount Song, White Horse Temple, Henan Museum
Henan (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade–Giles: ) is a province of the Peoples Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "" (yu), named after Yuzhou (; ), a Han Dynasty state (zhou) that included parts of Henan. Although the name of the province () means "south of the river", approximately a quarter of the province lies north of the Yellow River, also known as the "Huang He".
Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou () which literally means "central plains" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained Chinas cultural, economical, and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago. Numerous heritages have been left behind including the ruins of Shang Dynasty capital city Yin and the Shaolin Temple. Four of the Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China, Luoyang, Anyang, Kaifeng, and Zhengzhou are located in Henan.
With an area of 167,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi), Henan covers a large part of the fertile and densely populated North China Plain. Its neighbouring provinces are Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Anhui, and Hubei. Henan is Chinas third most populous province with a population of over 94 million. If it were a country by itself, Henan would be the 12th most populous country in the world, behind Mexico and ahead of the Philippines.
Henan is the 5th largest provincial economy of China and the largest among inland provinces. However, per capita GDP is low compared to other eastern and central provinces, and Henan is considered to be one of the less developed areas in China. The economy continues to depend on its dwindling aluminum and coal reserves, as well as agriculture, heavy industry, tourism, and retail. High-tech industry and service sector is underdeveloped and is concentrated around Zhengzhou and Luoyang.
Widely regarded as the Cradle of Chinese civilization along with Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces, Henan is known for its historical prosperity and periodic downturns. The economic prosperity resulted from its extensive fertile plains and its location at the heart of the country. However, its strategic location also means that it has suffered from nearly all of the major wars in China. In addition, the numerous floods of the Yellow River have caused significant damage from time to time. Kaifeng, in particular, has been buried by the Yellow Rivers silt seven times due to flooding.
Henan has a diverse landscape with floodplains in the east and mountains in the west. Much of the province forms part the densely populated North China Plain, an area known as the "breadbasket of China". The Taihang Mountains intrude partially into Henans northwestern borders from Shanxi, forming the eastern edge of Loess Plateau. To the west the Xionger and Funiu Mountains form an extensive network of mountain ranges and plateaus, supporting one of the few remaining temperate deciduous forests which once covered all of Henan. The renowned Mount Song and its Shaolin Temple is located in the far east of the region, near the capital city Zhengzhou. To the far south, the Dabie Mountains divides Hubei from Henan. The Nanyang Basin, separated from North China Plain by these mountains, is another important agricultural and population center, with culture and history distinct from the rest of Henan and closer to that of Hubeis. Unlike the rest of northern China, desertification is not a problem in Henan, though sandstorms are common in cities near the Yellow River due to the large amount of sand present in the river.
The Yellow River passes through central Henan. It enters from the northwest, via the Sanmenxia Reservoir. After it passes Luoyang, the mountains gave way to plains. Excessive amount of sediments are formed due to the silt it picks up from the Loess Plateau, raising the riverbed and causing frequent floods which shaped the habitat of the region. More recently however, construction of dams and levees, as well as the depletion of water resources have ended the floods. The Huai River in southern Henan is another important river, and has been recognized as part of the boundary dividing northern and southern Chinese climate and culture.
Henan shares borders with six other provinces. It is bordered to the west by Shaanxi, to the south by Hubei, and to the north by Shanxi (northwest) and Hebei (northeast). To the east lie Shandong (northeast) and Anhui (southeast), whose borders meet at a narrow strip of land which separates Henan from Jiangsu to the east.
Henan has seen rapid development in its economy over the past two decades, and its economy has expanded at an even faster rate than the national average of 10%. This rapid growth has transformed Henan from one of the poorest provinces to one that matches other central provinces, though still relatively impoverished on a national scale. In 2011, Henans nominal GDP was 3.20 trillion RMB (US$427 billion), making it the fifth largest economy in China, although it ranks nineteenth in terms of GDP per capita.Most of Henan speaks dialects of the Mandarin group of dialects spoken in northern and southwestern China. Linguists put these dialects into the category of "Zhongyuan Mandarin". The northwestern corner of Henan is an exception, where people speak Jin dialects instead. The dialects of Henan are collectively called "the Henan dialect" in popular usage, with easily identifiable stereotypical features.
Henan opera (Yuju) is the local form of Chinese opera; it is also well-known and popular across the rest of China. Henan Quju and Henan Yuediao are also important local opera forms.
Henan cuisine is the local cuisine, with traditions such as the Luoyang Shuixi (Luoyang "Water Table", consisting entirely of various soups, etc.); Xinyang Duncai (Xinyang brewed vegetables), and the traditional cuisine of Kaifeng.
Important traditional art and craft products include: Junci, a type of porcelain originating in Yuzhou noted for its unpredictable colour patterns; the jade carvings of Zhenping; and Luoyangs Tangsancai ("Tang Three Colours"), which are earthenware figurines made in the traditional style of the Tang Dynasty.
Henan is located in the Yellow River valley where ancient people lived. Earlier in the New Stone Age, the light of civilization had appeared and the delicate potteries in the Peiligang Culture and Yangshao Culture, and the character signs and musical instruments 8,000 years ago have filled the present world and the ancient times with wonders. Three of the Seven Ancient Capitals of China are in Henan: Luoyang, Kaifeng and Anyang. Henan is one of the few provinces which has many historical relics in the country. There are 16 key national units of protecting historical relics and 267 provincial units of protecting historical relics. The over-ground historical relics are the second in China in number. Historical relics in museums take up one-eighth of those in China, and the underground historical relics are the first in China in number. In Henan Museum there are 120,000 historical relics, including over 40,000 rare ones.Gaocheng Astronomical Observatory, the oldest astronomical observatory in China.
Annual Peony Show in Luoyang.
Mount Jigong, on the southern border.
Mount Song, near Dengfeng, one of the Five Sacred Mountains of China.
Shaolin Temple, on Mount Song.
The Longmen Grottoes, near Luoyang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
Yinxu in Anyang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Youguo Temple with the Iron Pagoda
White Horse Temple in Luoyang
Baligou in Xinxiang
Bigan Temple () in Xinxiang
Luwang Mausoleum () in Xinxiang
Guan Mountain () in Xinxiang
Tongbai Mountain (??) in Nanyang
Henan cuisine (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), also known as Yu cuisine (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), is derived from the native cooking styles of Henan province in China. It is a cross between Jiangsu cuisine, with which it shares the trait of selecting ingredients according to the four seasons, and to a lesser extent, Beijing cuisine, from which it adopted many cooking methods. The result is that Henan dishes are very seasonal, and taste lighter in comparison to Beijing cuisine, similar to that of Jiangsu cuisine.
Some characteristics of Henan cuisine include:The wide utilisation of onions.
Pork is the most commonly used type of meat in Henan cuisine but is seldom served in soups; mutton and lamb are mainly served in soups.
Rice is the major food, but Henan cuisine is unique in that rice is served with oil produced from animal fat (though this practice is diminishing due to health concerns).
Although noodles are cooked similarly to other northern Chinese cuisines, Henan cuisine is unique in that it utilises rice vermicelli, which is mostly used in Southern Chinese and Southeast Asian cuisines.